Regional Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 30 Years | USAO-EDNC

NEW BERN, N.C. – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that in Federal Court, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan has sentenced Sandro Cuevas, Jr., 25, from Selma, North Carolina, to 360 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release. 

According to court documents and evidence presented to the court, Sandro Cuevas, Jr. was named in a five-count Indictment filed on May 9, 2019.  On January 14, 2020, the defendant pled guilty to Conspiring with others to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and to various counts of Distribution of Methamphetamine.

The investigation revealed Cuevas ran a large-scale drug trafficking organization for multiple years.  Cuevas began selling marijuana and cocaine nearly a decade ago and progressed in earnest to larger quantities and additional types of drugs.  As Cuevas progressed, he developed multiple contacts from Mexico to Atlanta, GA who supplied his organization cocaine and methamphetamine. As a primary means of transportation, Cuevas paid couriers up to $1,000.00 per trip to travel and retrieve kilogram quantities of the various drugs.  Once the drugs arrived in North Carolina, Cuevas utilized a network of stash houses and individuals to sell the drugs into various communities.  At the investigation’s conclusion, the organization led by Cuevas was known to distribute drugs in multiple North Carolina counties, South Carolina, and as far South as Atlanta, Georgia. Cuevas, and those with whom he worked, were known to sell the drugs quickly in an effort to reduce full criminal exposure that accompanies being caught with large quantities of drugs.  This organization carried and used multiple firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities.

Leading to the arrest of Cuevas, a reliable informant provided law enforcement with corroborated information about the drug organization.  With this, multiple controlled purchases for large quantities of methamphetamine were achieved. These controlled purchases led to a search warrant that resulted in the seizure of extensive drug ledgers, multiple arrests (including that of Sandro Cuevas, Jr.), the recovery of large quantities of methamphetamine, distribution materials, and an assault rifle.

The case is a federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) criminal matter.  In support of OCDETF, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina has implemented the Take Back North Carolina Initiative.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.

The case was investigated by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, the Duplin County Sherriff’s Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Brad Knott prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:19-cr-00194-FL-1.

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Author: Editor
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